BlackRock Inc.’s iShares business expanded at its fastest pace ever in 2017, with US$246 billion in new flows, reveals a company report.

Growth accelerated at 19%, up from 13% in 2016, with industry AUM surpassing US$4.5 trillion.

The report says global investors drove record growth in U.S. iShares ETFs, with net inflows of US$201 billion.

U.S. individual investors and financial advisors also drove growth in 2017, as the shift to fee-based wealth management encouraged the use of low-cost portfolio funds.

Also, institutions worldwide increased their usage of iShares ETFs across asset classes and in tactical and buy-and-hold portfolios.

“We project the global ETF market to more than double in assets under management by 2022,” says Mark Wiedman, global head of iShares and index investments at BlackRock, in a release.

In addition to the increase in fee-based wealth management, that growth will come from two other global trends, he says:

  • networked bond and derivatives trading and
  • alpha-seeking usage by active fund and wealth managers.

Read: Continued growth expected for ETFs: report

Here are other report highlights:

  • Globally, iShares AUM closed the year at US$1.754 trillion, including US$1.33 trillion in equities and US$427 billion in fixed income and commodities.
  • Global iShares Core funds crossed $500 billion to US$514 billion in AUM, growing at 58%, adding a record US$123 billion in global net inflows.
  • In Canada, iShares Core funds reached CAD$18.7 billion in assets under management, growing at 22.6% organically, adding a record CAD$3.5 billion in net inflows.
  • Institutions continued to expand usage of iShares ETFs as financial instruments, alongside swaps, futures and single-name securities, and as a reference asset for OTC and listed derivatives.

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